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The Theoretical Foundations and Interdisciplinary Nature of African Studies


Admission requirements

See RESMA admission requirements.
For this course admission is in compliance with the overall RESMA requirements.


The course addresses the epistemology of African Studies and its multi-disciplinary nature, especially its roots in, and relations with, history, geography, anthropology, economics, law, and cultural studies. In addition, the course provides the students with insights into the various ways Africa was and is looked at throughout time, including the implications of these perceptions for research theory and practice. It thus makes the students aware and familiar with the nature, debates and controversies in African Studies. The course is designed to provide each student with in-depth and critical understanding of the larger theoretical debates and currents in African studies, so as to provide a basis for the development of his/her research interests later on in the programme.

Teaching materials include specialist & academic publications, internet-sources and power-point presentations.

Course objectives

After completion of the course, the students will have:

  1. A profound awareness of current issues, core concepts and research questions in African Studies;
  2. A thorough understanding of various theories and conceptual approaches that are commonly used in African Studies as well as in different related disciplines;
  3. Sensitivity to the relationships between theory, method, and place;
  4. A thorough knowledge of and insight into the interdisciplinary position of the study subject;
  5. A thorough understanding of the societal relevance of the study subject;
  6. The ability to select, compile, compare and analyze African studies-related literature and sources independently;
  7. The ability to independently study African Studies-related literature and sources and to assess these as to their quality and reliability;
  8. The ability to communicate, both in oral and written form, on the insights gained in the course;
  9. The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it.


MA African Studies ResMA African Studies

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Reading of literature

  • Writing of assignments

  • Presentations

  • Performance of tasks in class

Course Load

10 ECTS = 280 hours
Lecture attendance: 40 hrs.
Study of literature: 100 hrs.
In-class assignments and presentations: 40 hrs.
Out-of-class assignments: 4 written assignments: 100 hrs.

Assessment method

Assessment method as relating to B (skills pertaining to the course) and C (skills specifically pertaining to MA & RESMA profiles);

  • Oral presentations; non-measured learning objectives; B2, B 3, B 4

  • Reporting; non-measured learning objectives; B 1, B 2, B 4

  • Assignment 1; measured learning objectives; B 1 – 5, C 2

  • Assignment 2; non-measured learning objectives; B 1, B 2, B 4, C 2

  • Assignment 3; measured learning objectives; B 2, B 5

  • Assignment 4; measured learning objectives; B 2, B 5


For grading ONLY the measured learning objectives will be taken into account;

  • Assignment 1: 20%

  • Assignment 3: 40%

  • Assignment 4: 40%

For overall fulfilment of course requirements;

  • All out-of-class-assignments (including Assignment 2 which will not be graded) must have received a ‘pass’

  • All lecture-reports (in-class assignment TASK 4) must have received a ‘pass’

Resubmission in case of failing;

N.B. only essays that did not receive a pass can be re-submitted. Essays that already received a pass cannot be submitted a second time.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Students registered for the course will be enrolled. Course information, teaching material, assignment papers and feedback are exchanged via Blackboard.

Reading list

The literature is made available through a folder located at the ASCL library.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


R.A. van Dijk

Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats

Coordinator of Studies: P.C. Lai LL.M. MSc